I’m writing four books. Not at the same time, of course, but over the course of the year, I’ve worked on, in various capacities, four books. I write the rough draft, put it on the proverbial shelf to collect enough dust that it doesn’t feel so new, and then move on typically to a bout of short story writing to cleanse the palate and allow myself to get some of the ideas out that don’t require months or more of dedication. Later, I’ll come back to the rough draft after I’ve let it slip from the “my great, fresh creation” spot in my head, and I look back through it to see what in the world it is I’ve got.
Phoenix watched from the entrance porthole of the shuttle as the old man, the client’s father, Mr. Dilman Antony, shuffled across the hazy ground. The android took in everything, his artificial eyes noting the way the man’s daughter, the client, flitted around him, the way the man moved with steady purpose, and Phoenix wondered what new person would be added to his memory banks this trip.
‘Twas the night before NaNo, when all through the house
Not a computer was stirring, not even a mouse;
The outlines were hung by the printer with care,
In hopes that the Muses soon would be there;
The writers were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of word counts danced in their heads;
And husband in his boxers, and kids all retired,
Had just settled in for a long November caffeine wired,
When out in the office arose such a clatter,
My novel did sit there, cover all tattered.
Away to the clutter did I swiftly rush
To see my byline and Neil Gaiman did gush
In a blurb of my greatness on a cover so fine
That some engrossed soul had spilled some cheap wine.
What could it mean? I did so ponder;
For such a sight to fill me with wonder?
The hours and hours of trouble and toil
Would plant a good seed in such fertile soil?
Maybe this year my idea, half-baked,
Would bear fine fruits and a career path staked?
With visions of greatness and awards in my mind,
I cracked the book open like a thick melon rind.
To my shock and amazement, the pages all blank,
My novel was unwritten, and my broken heart sank.
But then within me did a fanciful notion
Arise like the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
The words were all there in their own little way
Just waiting for me to in some way convey.
Waiting for weary fingers steadily to type
With partners and children and spouses to hype.
With a shiver of knowing that I might still write
The novel that Neil Gaiman might someday delight,
I lay my head down for one last good wink
And dreamed of rough draft pages all covered in ink.
Best of luck to everyone doing #NaNoWriMo tomorrow!
Frank Aldridge is the first to notice that they are stuck in time. He turns the knob to the classroom door to go use the bathroom down the hall (though really, he’s going so he can peek in on Jessica Winters in her Bio class two doors down and see if she looks miserable, which he doesn’t know if he wants or doesn’t want, but she was the one who ended things this time after all). When he steps out, he really steps right back in.
Okay, okay, before I get any hateful responses, I have not given up on structure. Stories should still have structure. I’ve just given up on my obsessive adherence to structures and outlines and cats being saved and on page 27, you need a bearded wizard, and by page 73 there must be a kiss, any kiss, and and and. For every writertuber or writertokker (writertocker?) or writergrammer, there’s a tried-and-true system that they have that they know will work for you. And I’ve tried and failed them. They did not work for me.
Last year, I won NaNoWriMo. No, that’s not fair. I absolutely rocked it. I had the 50,000 words in 17 days and had 80,000 words by the end of the month. The problem, though, was that my goal was not to write an interesting story with rounded characters, something worth reading that made readers want to turn pages. My goal was to write lots of words. Bunches and bunches of words. Words on top of words. And I did.(more…)
The sterilized metal nib slipped from the plastic gear, and Luko bit down on his lip. He’d already worn his bottom lip raw, a crimson rash spreading from just above his chin to his normally pale, thin lip. His gloved fingers curled around the cold steel tube of the stylus, angled awkwardly for hours and stiff, clinging to it as if from a cliff face over a foaming ocean below. He maneuvered the nib back into place, and micrometer at a time, turned the gear. The magnetic gossamer material, the ancient sound recording technique that Luko marveled at with each new cassette, ticked back.
“What’s Lost in Time”: A science fiction story of time travel, grief, and what we lose when we look for more time
Logan McMaster twists the pink plastic bracelet on his wrist with her initials on it and then flips the switch on the device, and for the 237th time, hopes beyond hope it will work. A wave of blue static envelops him, followed by intense pressure, and then he’s in the past holding a disintegrating hunk of melting plastic and wires and sloppy soldering in the same basement lab as before but clearly a different day, and he knows he has finally succeeded.
Dear parents and guardians of students in Mr. Lauten’s second period physics class,
East Carolina Public Schools would like to offer our sincerest apology for the sudden disappearance of your student on April the 8th. The East Carolina University science department has several of its top scientists investigating the cause of the sudden disappearance. They assure us that all of the students will be found safe and sound. They have hypothesized that a temporal event (details on such events can be found in the pamphlet attached to this email) has occurred that has caused the entire classroom, including Mr. Lauten and his students, to move from one universe to another. We are not sure if this means they are in the past, the future, a different multiverse situation, or are in the same physical space only slightly outside of our time. The scientists did explain it to us, but, frankly, Superintendent Folly and I are former English teachers and didn’t quite follow.
As of now, our plan is to hold classes for the remaining students at ECHS in the temporary FEMA buildings provided by the state and to continue monitoring. We have reason to hope, and the investigation won’t stop until your student(s) is/are found. We will update you all as soon as there are any developments. In the meantime, please reach out to us with any questions or further concerns. We’re going to get the students back. Please have patience.
Deb Ragata ECPS Assistant Superintendent of Community Outreach